Wandering through Wallenstein Palace Garden in Prague: the Dripstone Wall

We are in Prague, a magnificient city full of hidden alleys and charming walkways. Hidden behind the high walls, at the heart of baroque palace grounds, among a variety of buildings, is a palace lush garden with fountains, statues and other unique features. Constructed at the behest of Bohemian military leader who fought on the Catholic side during the Thirty Years’ War Albrecht Vaclav Eusebius of Wallenstein, between 1623 and 1630, the Wallenstein Palace (Valdštejnský palác) enjoyed a centuries-long first life as a magnificent private residence for various generations of…

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#April 17, 1969: Alexander Dubček, architect of Czechoslovakia’s Prague Spring, resigns

Alexander Dubček, the communist leader who launched a broad program of liberal reforms in Czechoslovakia, is forced to resign on this day, April 17 1969, as first secretary by the Soviet forces occupying his country. The staunchly pro-Soviet Gustav Husak was appointed Czechoslovak leader in his place, reestablishing an authoritarian communist dictatorship in the Soviet satellite state. The trend toward liberalization in Czechoslovakia began in 1963, and in 1968 reached its apex after Dubcek replaced Antonin Novotny as first secretary of the party. He introduced a series of far-reaching political…

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Prague: the magnificent European capital cobbled with Jewish gravestones

Prague is one of the most touristic cities in Europe. It is a large UNESCO World Heritage site, full of fairytale towers, ornate statues and art nouveau façades. The beauties of its historical and cultural heritage arouse the imagination and evoke its millenary history in the heart of the Holy Roman Empire and of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. However, in the midst of all this beauty, there are stories that people probably would rather forget. Despite its 3.5 million tourists a year, Prague has a history of pain, suffering and genocide…

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The macabre Bohnický Hřbitov Cemetery, the ‘cemetery of fools’ near Prague

Behind a rusty gate, under tall, dark trees in the suburbs of Prague, there is an old graveyard that used to belong to the nearby mental asylum in the village of Bohnice, even if the last dead were buried here in 1963. The graveyard has been abandoned since then. Today not many people take care of this neglected cemetery and the graves have been robbed by thieves and marked by acts of vandalism throughout the years. Crosses have been stolen and sold for iron, tombstones have been taken and incorporated…

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The Golem of Prague and the origins of the myth of the clay giants

In Jewish folklore, a golem is an animated anthropomorphic being that is magically created entirely from inanimate matter (usually clay or mud). The word was used to mean an amorphous, unformed material in Psalms and medieval writing and it plays a very important role in the history of the city of Prague. In fact, the term seems to derive from the Hebrew word gelem, meaning raw material/lifeless earth clod. Not only that, it seems that the name recalls the mud of the Moldova river with which the small humanoids were…

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Prague: the penguins at Kampa Park which share a serious message about the environment.

We are in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic and one of the most beautiful city in the world, a place which has long attracted artists and wandering spirits. The city has a magnetic appeal for visionaries, scientists and astronomers, and displays every branch of architecture and art across the last thousand years. The streets of Prague are just full of statues and sculptors. Some are more conventional, depicting well known figures from Czech history, some stand as a memorial to events in the nation’s past, some are abstract,…

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Vinárna Čertovka: the narrowest street in Prague has a pedestrian traffic light!

Vinárna Čertovka is known as the narrowest street in Prague. The half-a-meter-wide path is probably more of a staircase than a proper street, but that hasn’t stopped people from celebrating its peculiarity. Only one person at a time can pass through the thin passageway, which cuts between two houses in one of the historic city’s neighborhoods. There’s absolutely no space for two people approaching from opposite ends to pass one another, and so, to remedy this problem, someone installed a traffic light on either end of the street. With the…

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The lookout tower on the Petřín hill of Prague: the little sister of Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The Petřín Lookout Tower (Petřínská Rozhledna), where tourists can see one of the most beautiful view of Prague, was built as part of the Jubilee Exhibition in 1891 inspired by the Eiffel Tower. In fact, when in 1889 the members of the Czech Tourist Club visited the world exhibition in Paris, they were so impressed by the view of the famous Eiffel Tower, that they decided to create a similar dominant above the capital of Czech Republic. It was decided that a five-time smaller imitation of the Eiffel Tower would…

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The magnificent baroque library of Prague: a paradise for all books lovers of all the world.

The Prague National Library was opened in 1722, and still today is one of the most beautiful libraries of all the world. With over 20,000 volumes, it is almost a sacred temple for all book lovers. The ceiling frescoes were made by Jan Hiebl, and through his pictorial work there are many symbols that represent the importance of education along with hagiographies Jesuits’s saints. Inside there is also an entire room dedicated to Mozart, with the original writings made by the master of Salzburg. The rare books collected by the…

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